Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 20, 2004
Richard Mcinnes- Coach, Bangladesh U19 team

Zobair Anam
McInness is once again at the centre of controversy. Of course controversy surrounding national coaches in Bangladesh is common. Generally, the hue and cry is about how incompetent, lazy and useless coaches are. We have discarded coaches left and right, sometimes for good reason. Not that this robust hiring and firing policy has paid any dividends. At the national senior level, in spite of having had Dav Whatmore for a while now, we are yet to win one international match (ODI or test) since you know when! We simply do not seem to be good enough just yet. But, as many of us think and hope, success is just a matter of time. After all, our cricket infrastructure is just about getting into place now, and slowly we are growing a cricket culture, cricketing terminologies are entering our vocabulary. We are no longer just a nation of ardent fans. We are preparing to achieve glory on the cricket pitch. However, if we look at other successful test playing nations and their performance, we quickly realize that cricket at the highest level is also about attitude, physical and mental toughness. It is as much about discipline, consistent hard work, passion, and more hard work, as it is about talent and skill. Richard McInnes come from a country whose cricket and cricketers have epitomized this for the past decade.

Coaching the U19, at this stage, is the single most important task in our cricket. After all these are the cricketers that will go on to represent Bangladesh in the future. The quality of these cricketers will decide the quality of Bangladesh Cricket. Yet, this is the time when you not only want to fine tune your talents but also engender the right habits, weed out the bad ones to ensure maximum longevity at the highest level. McInnes, in my opinion is fully aware of his task, and genuinely committed to see it through. Not satisfied with just attaining physical fitness and cricketing skills, he has tried to bring qualitative changes in the players? diet, and their life styles i.e. long-term changes. He is desperately trying to instill some real fighting spirit in the boys. McInnes has backed himself to make the right decisions, and has been unafraid to voice his opinion. That?s the Aussie style- celebrated in times of success, rubbished in defeat. It obviously has rubbed our media, and some egos the wrong way.

As far as the U19 World Cup has been concerned my evaluation so far is mixed (it is not over yet for our team). We disposed of Nepal in the warm-up matches in a clinical fashion. We should have won the New Zealand match. Some decisions sound injudicious (batting second in the last two matches), but incompetence is not the reason, in my humble opinion. Whether Talha should have played against India or not is beyond my judgement. Talha has been known to give away tons of runs at a moments notice in spite of his wicket taking ability, and his star power. I have no idea about his current form. Have we considered the possibility that the bowlers chosen in the XI are simply better? As far as batting or bowling first is concerned McInnes took a gamble and failed. He is certainly not alone. How about Bennet King? (the aussie U19 coach) He just presided over a humiliating loss to Zim U19 and exit to the plate round.

I find criticisms, conspiracy theories, and emotional diatribes that gush forth (particularly from us South Asian fans) as soon as there is a perceived failure quite unhelpful and, frankly, detrimental to the interest of the game. Like Whatmore says, you have to give a coach enough rope to hang himself with. In all his interviews so far Mcinnes has repeatedly said that he is grooming this team for the long-term. We will see if his long term objectives are fulfilled. At least he has a plan, and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. One has to give kudos to our media. They never pass an opportunity to pour salt on your wounds. In any case I failed to see the relevance of the 9 wicket defeat to India 3 months ago when Pathan turned in that sensational performance (McInnes was on the job for 3 weeks) to our performance in the World Cup. Bu then our media seems more intent on breaking this ?stubborn? man than anything else.

Mcinnes is a qualified coach. He works really hard and is not a slacker. His goals for the team are obvious. Build a tough, strong, patriotic, united team with a strong work ethic. He genuinely wants his charges to do well. He is competent and he has my vote.